Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

What men and women want (5)

8 October 2016


A June 2016 TED presentation (video) by anthropologist Helen Fisher made me aware of a brand new perspective on male/female mating preferences. Her view is that interesting that I decided to write a sequel to my “What men want” blogs (part 1, 2, 3 and 4).

Helen Fisher: “Many social, economic, psychological
and biological forces contribute to mate
preference. We tend to gravitate to
someone with the same socio-economic
and ethnic background, with a similar level
of education, intelligence and physical
attractiveness; a partner who shares our
religious and social values; and someone
who can provide the lifestyle we seek.
Timing and proximity contribute.”

Helen Fisher: “And
some psychologists believe we gravitate to
someone similar to the parent with whom
we have unresolved issues; who can provide
the type of attachment we had with mother; or a mate who reflects the values
and interests of our childhood friends. But academics
don’t agree on the role of personality in
mate choice. Some report we are attracted
to those with similar personality traits;
others conclude that opposites attract; still
others maintain neither play a role.”

Helen Fisher: “Personality is composed of two basic
types of traits: those an individual acquires
through experience, traits of character; and
those with biological underpinnings, traits
of temperament. Traits of temperament
are heritable, relatively stable across the
life course and linked to specific genes,
hormones and/or neurotransmitter systems.
Indeed, some 50 per cent of who we are
stems from our biology. Only four neural systems are regularly
associated with a constellation of
personality traits.”

These 4 neural systems are dopamineserotonin, testosterone and oestrogen. Helen Fisher groups the character traits associated with these 4 neural systems into 4 personalities: Explorers (dopamine), Builders (serotonin), Directors (testosterone), and Negotiators (oestrogen). Her subsequent research revealed something intriguing.

Helen Fisher: “Men and women who were primarily
novelty-seeking, energetic, curious and
creative (the Explorers) were statistically significantly
more drawn to those who shared these
traits, while those who were primarily
conventional, cautious and rule (the Builders) following
were also drawn to individuals like
themselves. But those who were more
analytical, tough minded, direct and
decisive (the Directors) were disproportionately attracted
to their opposite, those who were
imaginative, intuitive, compassionate and
socially skilled (the Negotiators); and vice versa.”

Live Science: “But though personality may drive initial love and attraction, Fisher has found that keeping that loving feeling requires one specific skill: maintaining positive illusions about a loved one, or “the simple ability to overlook everything you cannot stand in someone,” she said.

Latter quote from Helen Fisher refers to the word “forgiveness” in my blog of 19 January 2016. Of the 7 ingredients for a successful relationship (ie, communication, forgiveness, intimacy, respect, togetherness, trust and vulnerability), forgiveness is most likely the Heart of the Matter.

Don Henley / Eagles – Heart of the Matter (1989) – artistlyricsvideoWiki-1Wiki-2

I’m learning to live without you now

But I miss you sometimes

The more I know, the less I understand

All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again

I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter

But my will gets weak

And my thoughts seem to scatter

But I think it’s about forgiveness


Even if, even if, you don’t love me anymore


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